I decided to group these two places - Hiroshima and Miyajima, together as both can be visited in a day, with proper planning and time management. A five-day JR West rail pass is the recommendation as it includes the ferry tickets to Miyajima Island as well. Plus the price of the Shinkansen to and fro makes up for the whole five-day pass ticket. So in a way you are getting four extra free day passes for the price of one Hiroshima trip! The site of the actual ground zero is a far distance to walk, so my recommendation is to take a tram ride there and back. That will give you more time to go to and explore Miyajima Island.
Having witnessed the atrocities of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, I wanted to see first-hand the devastation of the bomb that ended the second world war. And what a sight to behold! The A-Bomb Dome, a UNESCO World Heritage site, also known as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial is what remains of the former Perfectural Industrial Promotion Hall. It was one of the few buildings left standing when it A-Bomb exploded several metres away.
Talk a stroll down the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Cenotaph. If you peek down the structure, you will be able to see the A-Bomb Dome in the distance.
As you walk down the canal, you will be able to see several tour boats canvassing their trips directly to Miyajima Island. My recommendation is to take the Shinkansen further west and board the ferry to the island.
Miyajima is a small island about an hour's train ride from Hiroshima. It is most famous for its giant Torii Gate. This scenery is ranked as one of the top three most beautiful sceneries in Japan.
When I was there, the tide was really low, and so I had the chance to walk down the beach and touch the Torii Gate - considered a good-luck gesture!
Itsukushima is the official name for Miyajima or "Shrine Island" and houses the Itsukushima Shrine shrine which also floats on top of the waters at high tide.
Take a leisurely walk from the ferry terminal to and from the shrine. The streets are lined with souvenir shops and outlets selling local delicacies. There are also wild deer (though tamer than those at Nara) roaming the streets eager to strike a pose with tourists. The architecture at Miyajima is breadth-taking and it is like taking a time machine back to the ancient times.
It is M.K. Wong's dream to visit at least 50 countries before his feet can carry him no more. With over 35 countries under his belt, M.K. is planning for his next escapade.